Miner Rio Tinto announces £670m investment in water supply project

Rio Tinto has announced a $1.30bn (£670m) investment in a new 2,500 litre per sector seawater desalination facility to supply water to Escondida mine in Chile, in which Rio Tinto has a 30 per cent interest (release).

The project will provide a sustainable supply of water for the new OGP1 copper concentrator approved in February 2012, while minimising Escondida's reliance on the region's aquifers.

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The project will include two pipelines, four high pressure pump stations, a reservoir at the mine site and high voltage infrastructure to support the system.

The project's construction will begin in July 2013, with a scheduled completion of 2017 and will be funded through cash flows from Escondida.